AskMore: Making Q&A Sessions at Events Less Boring

August 28, 2013

1:00 pm

As a conference organizer, Justin Lynch admits to hating having to deal with Q&A sessions. Mainly, these sessions have a tendency to fall off track, ultimately leading to wasted time. Part of the issue behind this inefficiency, he thinks, is accessibility to the speaker – there are several factors that prevent the right questions from being asked. AskMore aims to decrease this inefficiency by increasing accessibility.

Through AskMore, questions are asked and rated for relevance by audience members, improving the likelihood that the best questions get answered first. This also reduces the occurrence of duplicate or similar questions during an event.

“[At Startup Weekend – Boston], [Mo Godin, Gary Arora, and I] just got into this conversation about having attended [past] lectures or events that [inevitably] sucked because of discussions that led nowhere,” remarks Lynch on his and his cofounders’ motivation to build AskMore. Indeed, I think we’ve all been to at least one speaking event where the Q&A seemed to last interminably, what with the long questions and inquiries from audience members, asinine remarks or unnecessary diatribes that detract from the topic(s) at hand, and oft-encountered session extensions because the “discussion is just soOoOo engaging” except not really and half the room just wants to peace out and punch the guy who quoted Barthes in his question (like, ew, go away, this was a talk on breeding iguanas why are you even here?).

The solution: filter out all of that nonsense. In designing AskMore, the team believed “that Q&A sessions [could] be [made] more efficient by using technology.”

When stripped to its core, AskMore is all about accessibility: an online platform designed to be used by anyone, from anywhere, to gain improved access to the speaker at any event or lecture. This is accomplished through the decision to design AskMore as a responsive, Web platform, rather than a native app that must be downloaded. Because of this, event or lecture attendees have freedom to ask questions via smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Further, this provides users with a wider timeline for asking questions – whether that’s during the speaker’s talk, the Q&A itself, or even before the event occurs.

More importantly, AskMore increases accessibility for people who aren’t as outgoing (or brazen) as those with the tendency to pose questions. The option to ask questions anonymously on the platform further encourages people to ask questions rather than ruminate about them in their lonely corners.

You can demo AskMore here. They’ll be presenting at this week’s Tech Cocktail Boston Mixer & Startup Showcase.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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